On 6th November 2015 Ulalo Capital Investments Limited and Malawi Government through the Ministry of Energy concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Solar Energy Power Station that would ultimately generate 200WM.
Let it be known that Malawi falls in the Sunbelt area which receives an estimated solar power 4.5-5.5kwh/M2/day. The current Efficiency Index of Photovoltaic Technology stands between 15 -40%. The implication is that to generate the total of 200MW, Ulalo will have to use an estimated 350-450ha of land.
There are many factors to consider in the selection of the land. the worst case scenarios would be to displace people and their cultivatable land in favor of the project. God Forbid. The compromised position is the choice of brown land. This is the land not suitable for farming or human settlement. However, there is still a casualty. Environment in terms of forests elimination. Death of biodiversity. Cost of mega projects to environment could be devastating if mitigating measures are not integrated into the project plan.
Solar Farm - Displaces Vegetation. Disturbs Biodiversity
Ulalo has planned to plant 5 trees for every tree that will be removed from the project site thereby rebuilding a new ecological system. Most importantly, Ulalo will employ integrated land use. The project site will include animal farming and cultivation of crops that do not interfere with solar power generation.
Forest is defined as a plant community of trees and woody vegetation with a more or less closed canopy. Forest conservation is, therefore, the management of human use of the forest so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to the present generation while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspiration of future generations.
Need and importance of forest conservation
Forest conservation is essential for maintenance of essential ecological processes and life supporting systems. Preservation of diversity of species and ensuring their survival. It helps in the social and economic development of the nation. Forests confer a variety of benefits both material and non-material.
Advantages of forest conservation
The following are the advantages and necessities of forest conservation.
Forest conservation support life on earth.
It maintains quality of water and air, the basic essentials of existence of life.
Stability in soil is possible by trees, enables the land based plants and animals to live.
From their biodiversity grows wealth in the form of food, medicines, essential for human health.
It acts as Carbon sinks absorbing Carbon dioxide and keeps global warning at body.
Forests influence climate and educe extremes of temperature. They conserve soil and regulate moisture and stream flow. It prevents soil erosion and floods.
Forests also supply raw materials to so many industries like pulp-paper, news print, saw milling, matches, medicinal herbs..
It is the source of wood for use in houses construction and fuel wood.
Forests help in main export items like teak, paper, paper boards, natural resins, seeds obtained from forests.
Forests also source of revenue to the Government in the form of royalty, from leases of forest products.
It also provides employment to a large many people.
Means and ways of forest conservation
Forests and wild life help in the ecological balance of the locality. So it should be conserved by the means as follows:
A forestation is applied to created new forests. Such trees acts as wind break to check the velocity of wind and prevents blowing away of fertile top soil. So forest conservation leads to soil I conservation.
By preventing deforestation conservation of forest is possible.
Over grazing: Over grazing of cattle, goats, sheep should not be allowed. They can not only destroy vegetation but also pull out roots of plants.
Industrial Use: The excessive use of woods and forest products by industries should be checked to conserve the forests.
Forest conservation can be made by preventing commercial exploitation in these areas and the protection from fuel-starved villagers.
Green Plantation: Green Plantation programme should be launched rapidly and community forests to be created with the co-operation of the local villagers on the community land.
By social forestry: Use of public and common land to produce in decentralized way fire wood, fodder, and small timber and also manage forest conservation.